Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Monday, April 11, 2011

Raising hay for the Bunnies

Ok, I have done the silage experiment and well that just didn't work out real well. I don't have a lot of property that I can grow hay, but I do have patches here and there in the garden area that I can grow small amounts. So, one of my experiments this year is raising hay for the rabbits this winter. One thing that is really making this an experiment is that rabbits aren't just grass eaters, they really like their diversity. Not a problem as right now I have tons of "weeds" just waiting to be eaten. Right now they get all the fresh weeds that I can harvest for them and each morning do the happy bunny dance when they see me coming with the green bucket. So my summer experiment is to dry grasses that I grow in combination with weeds that I pick and to store the dried materials in an old trash can that I have "aerated" by drilling holes around the sides. I figure storing it loose this way would be best due to the very different sizes and such of the weeds and the grass and storing loose will better prevent mold which I will have to be diligent about watching for. So I am starting to harvest not only fresh stuff to give the bunnies, bunnies fresh stuff to be dried. I am drying in the sun on a screen frame that I made. I simply harvest my weeds, place on the screen in the sun. After 24 hours I turn them and let them dry another day in the sun. Since the weeds are different diameters and different moisture content I want to make sure that I am drying thoroughly so that I don't have a mold problem in storage. No sense going to this trouble only to have it ruin. Now here are some of the most common weeds that our rabbits love to eat:
shepherd's purse
creeping charlie
plantain (not the banana thing)
curly dock
morning glory vine
wild blackberry leaves
chicory leaves

I also mix in extra herbs I happen to have like lemon balm, catnip, parsley. Then there are the excess veggie greens. I toss those in there also. So lots of variety being set out to be dried for winter feeding the bunnies. I know it it is time consuming to do this, but definitely cheaper than hay. Blessings from the farm, Kat

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